This was posted on Thursday, January 19, 2017 by Rodney Ho on his AJC Radio & TV Talk blog
Ben Swann, who is taking the day off as evening anchor on CBS46, today retweeted what appeared to be a supportive Tweet regarding his “Pizzagate” story Tuesday night on the same station.
The problem: the Tweet is from @RepStevenSmith, who identifies himself as a Georgia congressman but is not. The entire Twitter feed is a spoof and has fooled many prominent people over the years.
According to Buzzfeed, “For the past three years, Rep. Smith has fooled some of the most prominent journalists and pundits in America into believing that he’s a real congressman, using a combination of guerrilla troll tactics, a Leto-as-Joker-like commitment to the character, and even a sidekick chief of staff account to help sustain the ruse.” His real name is Jeffrey Marty, a Tampa attorney who is fed up with all politicians.
Many people on social media today have been calling Swann irresponsible or worse for what they see as an innuendo-laced report that lacked any real independent reporting.
But there are plenty of supporters of Swann he could retweet such as:
CBS46 is owned by Meredith, not CBS. “WGCL-TV in Atlanta is not owned or operated by CBS. As such, CBS News has no editorial control over the station’s news product,” said Richard Huff, executive director of Communications for CBS News to TVNewser. A Meredith spokesman has not gotten back to me but told The Daily Beast that they are looking into the situation.
As of 4 p.m. today, Swann has not been punished in any way and I have heard no word of any tangible repercussions of anybody involved.